Friends in Low Places

Check. Check. Tweak. Rinse and repeat.

She quickly reaclimated herself to shipboard life in the black. For Marisol, the days were now a series of cyclical explorations, each beginning and ending in the engine room. The mini sojourns were spent listening for odd sounds, making on-the-spot repairs, and noting the hundreds of little odd jobs that were now her particular bailiwick. Lunar Veil was proving herself to be every bit the Firefly. The old girl possessed some astonishing strengths. Yet, as the mechanic made her rounds, “el Vee’s” weaknesses also stood as testimony to her membership in the class.

And then, there were the discoveries. Before marriage, children, and the time of war, Marisol learned the lesson that to serve as a boat’s mechanic also meant occasionally playing detective or archaeologist. Some clues were pretty obvious. An unused power coupling adjacent to four bolt holes in the deck told of a purpose no longer needed. The amazing finds of all make and manner, squirreled into every conceivable empty space all held tales of lives touched while in transit. A drain trap, clogged with used condoms, once forced a discreet conversation with a red faced deckhand. Better him than the captain, she smiled at the memory of the boy’s well known dalliances with their boss’ wife. These boats were more than heavy equipment. They were homes, personal refuges that were subject to the best and worst attributes of those who sailed within them. Thus far, the little tells and vibes she learned of this boat revealed a pretty benign nature. In and of herself, Lunar Veil was proving to harbor a very likable sense.

Her people were another story.

The crew, so far, were all pretty standoffish. Aside from a quick whisper with the disguised Kate and some contrived small talk with Dorian over breakfast, she couldn’t say that she had met a one of them. People seemed to skulk about, keeping to themselves in a sort of adult pantomime of the two kids, Gill and Haddie. Well, not so much Haddie, she thought as she resealed a leaky hydraulic line.

Yesterday’s overture had silently blown up in her face. She should’ve known better…a mute, angry kid like Haddie wasn’t about to drop her demons in favor of some new age Gǒu shǐ. The sheer malevolence in her one eye as she whirled away told Marisol that things were a long ways from getting any easier on that front. For the time being, she’d just wait it out, eventually becoming part of the new normal. Don’t try too hard, she chided herself. Just take care of business.

Of her rounds, the favorite by far was the regular pass through the cargo bay. Marisol had never seen such enormous dogs before. The Drog Kyhi were just amazing mountains of fur. Though several of the pack would greet her with a slathering of her outstretched hand and a wagging tail, one in particular seemed to watch for her. A huge male she’d nicknamed Patch would bark excitedly, massive paws draped over the enclosure until she was close enough to receive her daily protective coating of drool. “Patch!” she laughed, turning her face every way to avoid the thorough licking, “you’re drowning me!”

The dog’s response was to lay a paw over her shoulder, pulling her against the enclosure as he continued to display his affections. “You good boy, you,” she delivered a scratch to both ears as the weight of his gigantic head rested upon her shoulder. Cap’n had said to leave the dogs alone, but hell, how could anyone refuse those faces? If he objected, she’d take a nasty tongue lashing, and then come right back to the more genial greeting that was always waiting here. “Good vibes make a good boat,” she muttered into Patch’s thick fur.

The dog agreed.

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